France has emerged as Greece’s biggest ally in its efforts to stay in the eurozone and the country’s prime minister Manuel Valls has gone very public with his beliefs— even taking to Twitter to say “Greece is Europe” (in Greek and in French.
Au peuple grec, je dis : η Ελλάδα είναι η Ευρώπη ! MV
— Manuel Valls (@manuelvalls) July 8, 2015
Speaking to the French parliament, he said that a “Grexit” could have major geopolitical consequences for Europe and damage the world economy.
“Allowing Greece to exit the euro zone would be an admission of impotence – France refuses that,” Valls said, adding that a deal between Athens and creditors remained “within grasp”.
His keynote speech to the French parliament on the Greek crisis was the strongest statement from Paris— and any European leader so far that it will fight to avoid the departure of Greece from the eurozone, showing that a great divide exists between his country and Germany.
“Keeping Greece in the euro and therefore in the heart of Europe and the EU is something of the utmost geostrategic and geopolitical importance,” said Valls.
In his speech, Valls sketched out more than a century of political and cultural ties linking France and Greece, which he described as a “great European nation”.
He described Greece as Europe’s outpost to the Middle East and as a front-line player in the growing immigration crisis as Europe struggled to deal with thousands of migrants fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East.
“Weaken Greece and we are all weakened. It would weaken Europe and have repercussions for the world economy,” he said.
Referring to the split on opinion with Germany, Valls said it was ”France’s role, notably with Germany, to build the future of Europe together. When the chips are down … it’s France and Germany together with a duty to rise to the occasion.”